Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Early Bird Jazz Band - Remix 2008

Here is the much talked about but little understood Early Bird Jazz Band remix...(well, at least the files to create the re-mix....)

Every year I record a number of audio snippets of the LPMS Early Bird Jazz Band students - these are in the form of free associations, random and/or pre-conceived quotes, riffs, solos, excerpts from some of our charts, ensemble hits, laughter...you name it! Then, over several days, I cut, chop and hack away at the raw audio until everything is parsed down to a fairly fine grain. Recognizable tunes or melodies become fragmented; yet in this state they are the perfect artifacts for creating audio re-mixes and/or mash-ups or whatever you want to call them. This particular collection of audio clips is amazing. I hope you (the Early Bird students) get a chance to explore the audio files and get creative with your own remix.

How To Create Your Very Own Early Bird Jazz Band Re-Mix
  1. Download the EBJB-Remix-Loops-2008.zip file - be patient, it's 80 MB. The wait will be worth it though and the download shouldn't take that long. When you unzip the files, you'll find over 350 short WAV (audio) files with all sorts of musical and extra-musical offerings! These files (or typically a small sub-set) can serve as the building blocks for your own re-mix composition.
  2. Next you'll need some software to arrange and create your masterpiece. I personally use Cakewalk's SONAR...but there are other free (and not so free) audio loop editing and song creation tools out there:
    • Windows users: Sony's free ACID XPress - download it here!
    • Mac users: GarageBand - maybe you already have this software; you're set!
    • SpliceMusic.com - you can actually create your re-mix online, without downloading any additional software!
    • Surely there are other tools out there - google "loop software"
Remixing is essentially re-arranging, orchestration and composition all blended into one. And of course there's the technological aspect, dealing with your computer, a sound card, mixing, setting levels, mastering - some of which you'll simply need to explore on your own. Let your ear be your guide. Know what you want, then find a way to do it. There are folks who make an art of this and I think it's not a bad way to get into composing and arranging.

The standard compositional elements, devices and techniques apply: theme, variation, contour, melody, backgrounds, rhythm, re-capitulation, etc. In other words, crafting a good remix should challenge your creativity and your musicality. You will likely need to apply the "less just might be best" principle. I wouldn't recommend trying to wedge in all 350+ audio clips/loops into your remix tune! Economy is also the hallmark of a well crafted composition.

Need more help or tutorials on creating remixes? Search around - there are lots of articles and discussion online and examples abound. Here's one!

Rob's Remix - coming soon!
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Student Remixes - coming soon!
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(Note - I'll be updating this post with more stuff...so stay tuned and let me know if you've created a remix!)
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